Rating: PG-13 to start, for violence (non-sexual) and language. I am not any kind of a medical expert so if there are some glaring errors, please forgive me.
Disclaimer: I don’t own the Guiding Light characters, they belong to CBS and Proctor and Gamble.
Summary: This is set in the spring of 2009. I’ve taking some liberties with the storyline, mainly Natalia never slept with Frank, hence no engagement etc. So our girls have been just continuing forward raising Emma and getting closer to each other though they are still technically just friends, but that will change… This is a hurt/comfort story so they are headed on a rough ride.
Author’s Note: This is my first fan fiction so please be gentle. This would not have been possible if not for the persistent nudging and awesome editing of my beta/great friend croftlara. Comments are welcome.
( Part 1 ) ( Parts 2 & 3 ) ( Part 4 ) ( Parts 5 & 6 ) ( Part 7 ) ( Part 8 ) ( Part 9 ) ( Part 10 ) ( Part 11 ) ( Part 12 ) ( Part 13 ) ( Parts 14 & 15 ) ( Part 16 ) ( Part 17 ) ( Part 18 ) ( Part 19 ) ( Part 20 ) ( Part 21 ) ( Part 22 ) ( Part 23 ) ( Part 24 ) ( Part 25 )
Emma had been talking for over an hour non-stop about every detail of her time with Jane, including Phillip’s visit and right up to making lunch for her mommy and not being able to wake her for a few minutes. Natalia had been doing her level best to stay awake through Emma’s recitation of the events but that last story had her wide awake and looking at Olivia with concern in her eyes.
Olivia noticed this and quickly covered, “You know how hard it can be to wake me.”
Brown eyes continued to lock onto green while Natalia answered, “Uh huh.” Both women knew that meant after Emma was gone they were going to have a long talk. Olivia sighed while she pinched the bridge of her nose already dreading the conversation.
Emma continued to talk about what Jane had planned for them for the next few days but Natalia couldn’t hold in her yawn any longer. She wanted to hear every detail from the child she had missed over the last two days but she had been fighting the morphine’s pull into sleep for about as long as she could. Olivia noticed the yawn and the drooping eyes of her friend.
“Emma honey? I think maybe it’s time we let Natalia have a sleep.”
Emma responded, “Awww. Why can’t I stay?”
Olivia hated seeing her daughter’s sad face but Natalia needed to rest. “No Jellybean, I think we’ll let Natalia sleep. Do you want to give her a kiss before I take you back to Jane?”
Reluctantly, Emma answered, “Yes” before climbing up on the chair so Olivia could help her lean over to Natalia again.
While Emma hugged Natalia she asked if she could come and see her again tomorrow.
Natalia squeezed the little girl harder and gave her a kiss on the head, “I would love for you to visit again tomorrow. Seeing you just made my day.”
Emma pulled back from the hug and smiled before her face turned sad. “Natalia I love you. I got so scared when you got hurt. There was blood everywhere and even mommy was scared too.” The child paused to sniffle. “I thought you might die. I don’t want you to die.” Tears fell from Emma’s eyes, when they landed on Natalia they stung like little knives tearing into her soul.
Natalia’s own tears began to run down her face and she hugged the child to her again. “Honey, I’m not going anywhere. I promise. I love you, I will never leave you.”
Emma wanted to believe Natalia but she couldn’t help but think about how her daddy left her once for a long time and she didn’t want that to happen to either of her mommies, ever. She looked up questioningly at Natalia’s face, “Do you promise for real? Daddy says he loves me but he left me. My sister Ava left me.”
“Emma Spencer, when I make a promise, I keep it. You’re my little girl; you’re stuck with me. You, me, your mommy, Rafe, you are all my family forever, no matter what happens now or in the future, you can count on me.” God, please let me always keep this promise.
Olivia watched the scene unfold with hot tears streaming down her cheeks while she fought the urge to take them both into her arms and sequester them safely in some faraway place for the rest of their lives. She put her hand on Emma’s back while Natalia clutched the child to her despite the pain it caused. Oh my baby, of course you’d be afraid that Natalia would leave. I haven’t done a very good job of keeping a consistent group of people around for you to count on. But I think Natalia might be different. She really does feel like our family. I think you’re safe trusting her to be there for you my Jellybean. Just trust her because I do.
The three of them stayed like that for some time and cried.
Olivia left Natalia to return Emma to Jane after promising to the child that she would call her at bedtime and that she could come back to see Natalia again the next day. As Olivia watched Emma walk down the hall with her hand in Jane’s she felt lightheaded and quickly sat down in one of the waiting room chairs. Okay just breathe. That could have gone worse, not by much but…Oh God…I’m gonna.. Olivia stood and barely gained her equilibrium before she found herself stumbling toward the bathroom. She made it into the first stall in enough time to violently empty the contents of her stomach into the toilet. When she was finished she sat down hard against the door and tried to catch her breath. Within a moment the nausea returned full force and whatever was left inside of her was expelled. Gasping for air, sweaty and shaky she unraveled a wad of toilet paper to wipe across her mouth, completely missing the vomit trail down her shirt.
Olivia sat on the floor of the bathroom stall for a few minutes before she felt capable of standing. She pulled herself up using the toilet paper holder and the door then found her way out of the stall and to the sinks. She splashed water on her face and rinsed her mouth. Bracing herself on the sink she looked into the mirror and was shocked to see how pale she had become, she was still sweaty and shaky and the pain in her head had increased to a dizzying level. I need something for my head, have to find Lillian so I can get back to Natalia.
It took a great deal of strength to pull open the door that felt like it weighed a ton. Dragging her hand against the wall for support, she stumbled three steps from the bathroom before the buzzing started and her vision tunneled. Before she could fully recognize what was happening Olivia whispered, “Natalia”, then collapsed unconscious to the floor.
“Olivia? It’s Rick, can you hear me? Olivia?”
Green eyes fluttered open before squinting and focusing on the doctor leaning over them. Oh shit. The green eyes shut again.
“Nice try Olivia, open your eyes, we need to talk.”
Reluctantly, Olivia opened her eyes again. She was now laying on a gurney in her least favourite room in the emergency department of Cedar’s hospital, an IV in her arm and hooked up to a heart monitor with her doctor, Rick Bauer, just waiting to let her have it for neglecting her health again.
“Save it.” The recalcitrant patient warned.
“No Olivia. I’m not going to ‘save it’. You passed out and you had vomit on your shirt. Why don’t you tell me now how you’re okay?”
Olivia opened her mouth to speak when Rick raised his voice and continued, “Here’s what’s going to happen. We’re taking you for a CT scan, then, you are going to lay here and wait for the results while we pump IV fluid into you and monitor your heart. Then I’ll decide if you need to be admitted.” Seeing the argument poised on her lips Rick continued, “How long did you really think you could go before everything caught up to you?”
Olivia just stared at Rick, not knowing if it was her turn to talk or not. Oh boy, I think he’s serious, if I say the wrong thing here, I won’t be getting back to Natalia anytime soon so I think silence may be the safest route.
Before either spoke again an orderly appeared to take her for the CT scan.
Natalia was fighting the sleep that had been trying to overtake her since Emma had visited. Olivia said she was only leaving for a few minutes and it had now been the better part of an hour, she had yet to return and Natalia was becoming concerned.
Where are you? If I thought for a second that you actually went home with Emma, I’d be thrilled but I know you didn’t.
A few minutes later Lillian came through the door, not looking her usual chipper-self. She came and sat on the edge of Natalia’s bed in an uncharacteristic break in her professionalism. Lillian put her hand on Natalia’s leg. “Hi honey. Okay, you’re probably wondering where Olivia is.”
Heart beginning to pound Natalia questioned, “Lillian what’s going on?”
“Now, I don’t want you to get upset, she’s okay but Olivia collapsed a little while ago out in the waiting room.”
Natalia’s heart began to pound. “Oh my God. Was Emma still with her?”
“No, she was alone and it looked like she’d just come out of the bathroom, it looked like she’d been sick.” Lillian held up her hand to forestall the barrage of questions she could see Natalia gearing up to fire at her. “I spoke with Rick; she’s having a CT scan to diagnose the severity of her concussion. He’s going to keep her downstairs for a while and possibly admit her.”
Natalia’s eyes welled up with tears. “I knew she was pushing herself too hard, she wouldn’t listen to me.”
“Honey this isn’t your fault. You know Olivia, she’s like the ‘Energizer Bunny’ she keeps going and going and going.” Lillian wanted to reassure her charge, “Natalia, she’ll be okay, she needs to rest and heal, just like you do.”
Lillian slid off of the bed and moved to take Natalia’s hand. “I know you’re worried, Rick said he’d call up when he had some answers so for now I’d like you to just try and get some sleep. Is there anyone you’d like me to call for either you or Olivia?”
“I think the only person she’ll listen to is Jeffrey.”
“I’ll give him a call.” Looking at the sad and worried face of her patient Lillian added, “It’s going to be okay Natalia. Olivia will be fine, Rick’s taking good care of her.”
Natalia nodded as an errant tear escaped down her cheek. After Lillian left the room, she began to softly cry, before too long her eyes felt heavy and she was unable to fight sleep any longer. With tears still drying on her pillow, Natalia drifted off with worried thoughts of her best friend filling her mind.
Olivia had been returned to her room after the CT scan was complete. She was hooked up to an IV and she had to admit she felt a little better for just laying down and rehydrating, even though she was worried sick about what Natalia must be thinking. Rick had told her that Natalia had been informed about what was going on, so she was not to worry but that didn’t stop Olivia. She felt terrible for letting things get this far and for needlessly worrying Natalia again.
Olivia closed her eyes and threw her arm over her face, her head was still hurting but she was sure that Rick had given her something for the pain because it had lessened considerably.
When the door opened both Rick and Jeffrey came in followed by a nurse. Olivia groaned at the sight of Jeffrey, this wasn’t going to be good.
The nurse busied herself with changing the IV bag while Rick pulled a rolling chair up to the side of the bed. “Do you mind if Jeffrey is present while we talk about my diagnosis?”
Olivia looked at Jeffrey who hadn’t spoken yet but just smiled an evil grin like he had something up his sleeve. “Yeah that’s fine.”
“Okay good. So as you know you have a concussion. The truth is there isn’t much we can do for it except keep you on Tylenol, fluids and bed rest. I know that last one is going to be tough for you but we’ll talk about that in a minute. I think the fainting and the vomiting had as much to do with exhaustion as the concussion. I don’t think you’ve been altered at all from the injury, you’re just as obstinate as usual, so I think we can thank your hard head for that one.”
Olivia was unimpressed with his attempt at humour in her given situation. “Ha Ha, not funny.”
“No Olivia it’s actually not funny, I’m glad you’re finally realizing that. I’m just surprised that you didn’t injure yourself more by fainting. In any case, we’ve been monitoring your heart; the pacemaker is doing its job. So that leads us to your present living situation which appears to be standing all night in Natalia’s room.”
Olivia opened her mouth to speak but Rick halted her retort by continuing, “Yes I do have spies, I know exactly what you’ve been doing. I talked to Phillip too.”
When Olivia’s eyes closed, she pinched the bridge of her nose.
Rick’s voice softened, “Olivia, I can’t imagine the stress that you’re under. Look at me,” He reached over and removed her fingers from her nose and kept her hand in his. “You’re not alone ya know? You don’t have to be a superhero.”
Olivia’s eyes filled with tears as much as she hated herself for crying in front of Rick and Jeffrey, whom she did respect, “No. Natalia is the superhero, I’m just the bumbling sidekick.”
“The point is we can help you if you let us. I really would like you to talk to someone.”
Olivia let out an aggravated breath as she rolled her bloodshot eyes. Oh please, here we go with the therapy.
Rick ignored her and continued, “Alright, I’m not going to push that for now but we do need to work out a better routine for you.” Rick looked at Jeffrey. “Honestly, I’d like to admit you, and before you start yelling at me, I’ll tell you why I’m not.”
Confused yet appreciative Olivia questioned, “You’re not?”
Rick tried unsuccessfully to hide his self-satisfied smile, “No I’m not because Jeffrey has graciously offered to take you home with him to Cross Creek to stay with him and Reva until you’re feeling better.”
Olivia began to shake her head. “Ah we tried that once before, it didn’t go well.”
Finally Jeffrey spoke, “Listen, I talked to Reva, she actually suggested it.”
Olivia was unconvinced, “Yeah right.”
“Yes, she did. She wants to do anything she can for you, Natalia and Emma and so do I. So, I’m going to take you by The Beacon to grab your things, we can pick up Emma if you’d like or you can leave her with Jane if you think it’d be more stable for her to stay where she is right now, then I’m taking you home with me. Tomorrow when I come into town to go to work, I’ll bring you back here to spend the day with Natalia and to check in with Rick, then it’s back home with me to rest.”
Olivia looked between the two men who both had self-satisfied looks on their faces. “Well I guess you’ve both just planned out my life for me. Do I get any choice in this?”
Rick spoke first, “Yep, you can follow that plan or I’ll admit you for a couple of days but somehow I doubt you’d want to worry Emma by being in the same hospital as Natalia”
Olivia cringed at that idea. “You’re really becoming a bastard Rick, that’s damn dirty playing my kids’ emotions against me.”
“Olivia, I care about you and I know that left to your own devices you’ll stay awake on caffeine and sugar until your body collapses again but do you really think that helps anybody? I’m doing my job as your physician and your friend.”
Olivia’s voice became very quiet and deadly serious, “I have to protect them. I failed the first time. When Natalia has a nightmare I have to be there, when Emma worries that one of her mommies is going to leave her, I have to be there. That’s my job as a friend and as a mother.”
Jeffrey took Olivia’s other hand, “And you’re a damn good friend and mother.”
Olivia started to shake her head while Jeffrey continued, “Don’t do that. Don’t take blame for things you had little or no control over. This happened to you not because of you. And Natalia and Emma need you for longer than just getting through this initial ordeal. It won’t be long until Natalia is released from the hospital, she’s going to need you more than she does right now. Emma needs to come home and you need to be healthy enough to care for them both, because Emma has Jane and Natalia has Lillian and the other staff to cover for what you can’t provide right now. You need to take advantage of this time to get yourself stronger for what’s coming. Let Reva, Rick and I be there for you.”
Why does he always have to make sense? Olivia wanted to argue but how could she? He was right and she was exhausted. Too exhausted to fight, too exhausted to try to figure out another way. “Okay.”
Rick was pleasantly surprised, “Yeah?”
“Yeah. I need to go up and see Natalia and tell her what’s going on.”
“Of course,” Rick looked to the nurse who had been standing by, “Could you please remove the IV and the heart monitor leads.” Then turning to Jeffrey he asked, “Would you mind coming with me, I want to get you a prescription for her.”
To be continued...